Describe how the program incorporates smart technologies, efficient technologies, best practices, or programs related to outdoor water conservation.
All educational classes have an element of water conservation. The beginner irrigation tech class (CIT) offers introductory best practices like successful gluing techniques, head layout and nozzle alignment. The more advanced classes (CIC and Advanced Irrigation Maintenance and Design) teach attendees how to raise their professionalism by understanding the complexities related to scheduling, pressure, flow, proper maintenance and customer relations. Lastly, the landscape irrigation auditor training gives contractors the knowledge and skills to scientifically assess a zone and evaluate performance. Together, these classes raise the knowledge, professionalism and services of professional landscape technicians, while managing water wisely.
The Landscape Industry Coupon offers two classroom hours covering the fundamentals of efficient irrigation including: scheduling techniques, matched precipitation, soil infiltration rate, soil holding capacity, pressure and flow problems. It also covers the potential water savings of efficient technologies such as smart controllers, flow sensors, high efficiency nozzles, heads with check valves and rain sensors, thereby showcasing how these efficiency upgrades can help save the customer water! For many attendees, it introduced the idea of offering water management as a service to customers and provided tools like a Water Budget Calculator and an Historical Water Use Analysis guide to help get them started.
How is the program’s success measured?
All classes are measured by surveying the participants. We ask a series of questions about how impactful the class was, to how many customers they serve and what other educational classes would help them in their work.
The Landscape Industry Coupon is initially measured by participant surveys, the water savings estimate of the equipment purchased by the coupons, and the number of new contractors promoting our rebates. Long-term results, such as efficient irrigation equipment market transformation will be measured this coming year with the help of the suppliers.
What are the results of the program to date?
The participant survey showed:
- An increase from 42-74% to 68-74% (see graph comparison in End of Year Report) of participants who plan to install efficient product frequently (60% of the time or more).
- An increase from 42% of professionals who have used our rebates, to 90% who are very likely to promote our rebates to their customers.
- 6.74 out of 13 efficient irrigation practices currently in use (pre-class survey).
- An additional 3.78 efficient practices that they plan to implement after attending. (The most common new practices included: checking the operating pressure at the head, evaluating the soil type, watering according to the season & watering one-half inch each watering day.)
Water savings: 48 of the 60 coupons awarded were redeemed. The total equipment purchased with these coupons was: 1,275 heads, 2,389 nozzles and many pressure measuring devices. This product has an estimated water savings of 13.99 acre-feet.
Rebate participation: In 2019, we saw six new rebate participants due to these programs. The rebated items included: smart controllers, efficient nozzles, heads with pressure regulation and rain sensors.
What is the timeline for implementation of the program?
The Trade Allies Program officially started in the fall of 2018 and will continue into the foreseeable future. Due to the success of this program we are looking for ways to increase program offerings among other trade professionals who support our customers’ water use inside and out.
In 2020, we have plans to offer the Landscape Irrigation Auditor Training (completed in March), Drip Irrigation Design and Maintenance (fall of 2020) and the Landscape Industry Coupon classes (mid-late summer). We also will launch new programs related to local regulation changes and will continue to work closely with landscape professionals through these challenging times.
What is the service area for the program (i.e., population size and/or geographic area)?
We currently serve approximately 135,000 residential customers, 8,200 commercial customers and have a water service territory that covers 195 square miles. Each year we provide approximately 73,000 acre-feet of water to our customers, with an estimated 30% of that used in the landscape.
What are the costs associated with the program?
The total investment of the Trade Allies Program from Fall of 2018 thru 2019 was $53,671. This consists of $15,862 for the educational events and $37,809 for the Landscape Industry Coupon. Below is a breakdown of those costs.
Education Events: $15,862, 156 attendees, over 2,600 customers impacted
- Cost of classes: $11,350
- Cost of books: $4,12.80
Total educational hours: 1400
- Investment by attendees: $49,000 (estimated $35 per hour rate, not included in total)
- Investment by local suppliers: ~$5,000 (All food and beverage were provided by local suppliers. (When we don’t have to pay for food, we can afford to purchase the books for the classes. This is also not included in the total.)
Landscape Industry Coupon: $37,809, 91 attendees, 3,436 customers impacted
- Cost of coupons redeemed: $23,809
- Utilities labor costs to create, manage and maintain the program: $13,500
- Miscellaneous print costs: $500
- Total cost per acre-foot of water saved: $2,702 (less than 20% of our traditional water supply cost!)